By Arab News
By Bikram Vohra
If Donald Trump sits in the White House and you are Muslim, brown, have a beard, wear traditional clothes, a turban, are Mexican or just anything short of WASP, you could consider either packing your bags or facing a return of the era of Joseph McCarthy.
Except Big Brother will not be only watching you, he’ll be invading your privacy.
Trump now blames Germany and France for the terror attacks because these countries let “those” people in. Ergo, it is their fault.
Which people? Those people. The ones that don’t eat like us or dress like us or speak like us. The ones Trump wishes to ban from entering his country. Trump forgets so easily that the only real American is the Native Indian who was massacred and that everyone else in the United States is a migrant. There is no real American. Consequently, he should be asked, who let these people in? Do we blame Sitting Bull, Geronimo, the Commanche, the Cherokee and the Sioux, and say they asked to be wiped out because the white man conned them with beads and trinkets and had the deadly smoking stick?
Trump also conveniently overlooks the fact that it is these nations in Europe that sailed off to create empires and colonies when they could just as easily have stayed home. It is also these nations that went to war with each other and were so short of manpower in the aftermath they had to invite the now reviled outsiders to do their dirty work.
You think Britain had an option but to allow Indians by the thousands to come into the island and rebuild a war-torn nation in the late 1940s?
With this in mind I worry about the 1.7 million Arab Americans and the over 3 million Indian Americans who, whether they like it or not, are going to be suspect. While Trump has said nothing about the ancestors of those crammed into slave ships in chains — now called African Americans — and numbering over 46 million, which is nearly 14 percent of the population, someone should ask him how they are categorized, especially the three million who have taken to Islam.
Where do they fit in and will a possible incumbent of the White House see them as a threat and a conduit for terrorism because he clubs them with all those upon whom he wishes to place a total ban?
See how skewed it all gets?
We haven’t even talked about the 55 million Hispanics in the United States — even more than African Americans — whose countrymen are now being told that a wall has to be built to keep their brethren out.
While it all sounds Kafkaesque and bizarre, the scary thing is that if he wins and takes that first step against the Muslim world and makes entry into the US difficult or imposes obnoxious pre-requisites, the domino principle will kick in. All these 200 million odd people will be vulnerable to racism.
The dangerous element inherent in taking all this lightly is that Trump is extremely serious and believes in his mission. It is not populist pre-election rhetoric. It is sincere intent. And the longer the world keeps pretending it is only Trump trumpeting, the closer he gets to winning.
We have recently seen how the tectonic plates of black on white relations have turned grotesque and how much lava of rage churns beneath the surface.
A man like Trump could blow the top of the ethnic volcano and do the terrorist’s job for him.
Before you know it the most powerful nation in the world could fall upon itself and destruct from within.
I’d worry if I belonged to one of these minority groups (I do) and lived in the US (I don’t). I’d worry about the schisms in society that are widening. I’d worry about being under scrutiny 24/7, I’d worry about free speech and how free it will be.
In eight years or even four, you can do one hell of a lot of damage in the social fabric if you are perched on top of the totem pole. I don’t want to be an Arab taxi driver targeted because I speak Arabic.
I don’t want to be a Latino being told I am a “wetback,” a criminal and a drug dealer.
I don’t want to be a Sikh attacked for my beard. I don’t want to be offloaded from a plane because some passenger “suspects” my looks. I don’t want my children to be afraid to go to school because of their color or their background. I don’t want to be afraid when my husband or wife is an hour late and I cannot get through to them. And I damn well don’t want to put my hand in my pocket in there is a cop nearby.
Good enough reasons not to want Trump at 1600, Pennsylvania Avenue. He has already ripped the scab off his people’s psyche, now we don’t want him rooting in the wound. It is a time for healing.